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“Big Businesses Do Business With Big Businesses” – And Why My Experiences Taught Me Otherwise

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Oct 18, 2021 2:03:08 PM

As a young division director in a large company, the notion that “big businesses do business with big businesses” was drilled into my head. It was the conventional thinking of the time, but times have changed, so is it still the right perspective?

Later, as a buyer of enterprise systems, I began to see cracks forming in this line of thinking. Some of our competitors were taking manageable risks and going with solutions from smaller, more nimble upstarts and driving better results than what we were able to achieve from our “safe” choices from the “big guys.” Not wanting to be cutting-edge of new technology, we’d opt for the herd mentality of “tried and true” and “steady as she goes.” We’d get good, not great, results and would typically have to compromise on our wants.

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The Future of Supply Chains Is AI: How to Start Small to Win Big Over Time

Posted by Martin Verwijmeren     Oct 4, 2021 2:28:27 PM

Skim the latest supply chain news and you’ll find headlines spanning disruptions, backlogs, shipping delays, soaring prices, and changing consumer habits. “Supply chain complexity” is a popular search term as businesses explore technologies that will enable them to better manage risk and uncertainty. We’ve discussed how supply chain visibility is the foundation to building a successful technology strategy – but what is the ultimate aim?

Certainly, the “perfect order” – on time and in full (OTIF) delivery at the lowest possible cost – is the gold standard from a business perspective. From a technological perspective, the systems that will best help us reach those aims are intelligent cloud platforms with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) capabilities.

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Why Practitioners Should Embrace Supply Chain Complexity When Planning

Posted by Martin Verwijmeren     Jul 26, 2021 3:03:42 PM

Planning is often imagined as a static process: Strategize in advance, then act on your objective. But a static approach only works in a static environment. Today’s global market and playing field is rich, complex, disruptive, and continuously evolving. To consistently deliver on the perfect order, planning must occur across the entire ecosystem, and the approach must also be flexible and agile to adapt and shift gears as needed.

The pandemic has been a sobering lesson in the critical necessity for preparedness. Initiatives to improve supply chain planning have seen a sharp rise, though the approach is often misguided and continues to build upon a limiting and problematic foundation.

Here we explore what’s been holding businesses back, and how a holistic supply chain technology strategy will help you embrace complexity to your advantage.

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3 Supply Chain & Technology Trends Driving Business Success in the New Normal

Posted by Sophia Shats     Jun 28, 2021 2:30:08 PM

From a certain angle, it can be said that everything has changed; it could also be said that everything is as it always has been. We have simply changed.

The supply chain and technology trends explored below have not appeared out of the blue. Like a kind of white noise, globalization and the growth of the cloud and new sales channels were budding in the background, alongside the quiet hum of climate activism and gentle reminders to recycle. In fairly easy and undisruptive times, most can afford to take their time, digitally transform – or not, and maintain legacy frameworks because they’re ‘good enough.’

The past year has turned that approach on its head. These trends reflect sobering realizations and calls to action. They underscored the urgency, necessity, and value of addressing supply chain complexities head-on, of embracing new opportunities, and of laying the fundamental, technological groundwork needed to avoid making the same mistake twice.

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Insights I Gained About Overcoming Barriers to Digitizing Fulfillment Processes

Posted by Martin Verwijmeren     May 10, 2021 5:04:25 PM

It’s no secret that eCommerce has grown dramatically over the course of the pandemic. The rising challenge of omni-channel order fulfillment, in particular for brand owners entering the D2C market, has put a spotlight on manual processes that limit visibility, collaboration, and optimization.

I recently participated in the webinar: Digital Order Fulfillment: Fast, Visible, and Cost-Efficient Delivery, in which I had an insightful conversation with Sławomir Kluszczyński, COO at Lotte Wedel Businesses, and Nico van den Berg, Distribution Process Lead BA Europe at Electrolux. Both expressed urgency for not just automated processes, but to progress from limited and siloed order flow visibility to full, end-to-end actionable insight. To streamline and improve the effectiveness of dynamic networking and collaboration.

The challenges they voiced echoed pain points I often hear: Organizations operating within complex supply chains struggle to overcome the limitations of heterogenous systems landscapes. In many cases, companies have made the difficult discovery that their supply chains and existing systems cannot withstand further disruption.

Yet, we all agreed that digitization is an unstoppable, immanent force that cannot be ignored.

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4 FAQs About Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks

Posted by Sophia Shats     May 18, 2020 3:32:54 PM

Gartner recently released the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks (MESCBN). According to Gartner, “MESCBNs are an essential technology component to a successful digital transformation.”

While this is undoubtedly true, businesses rarely say “I need a MESCBN solution.” Instead, they address pain points, such as a lack of visibility or inability to swiftly resolve exceptions. They then turn to popular supply chain software and systems options, such as a Control Tower or TMS to address those limitations.

There is a better way to approach digital transformations, and it begins by understanding the relationship between the supply chain technology you choose and the complex business networks they ultimately serve.

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Supply Chain Solutions: How to Make the Smartest Investment

Posted by Sophia Shats     Jan 20, 2020 5:16:27 PM

We live in a highly demanding time. Customers want more, better, faster, and cheaper. Competition is steep, and meeting expectations while innovating and staying profitable can feel like a pipe dream. As supply chain practitioners invest in and leverage robust technology to deliver on ever-increasing demands and complexities, it’s vital that they see past the fads (quick fix solutions) and focus on long-lasting trends (solutions that best align with where the industry is headed).

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Why Is Supply Chain Visibility Gaining Momentum?

Posted by Martin Verwijmeren     Jan 13, 2020 1:02:09 PM

Supply chain visibility has always been important. Yet, in 2017, improving end-to-end supply chain visibility only ranked 6th as a top objective, according to Geodis’ Supply Chain Worldwide Survey. It didn’t take long for practitioners to begin seeing the capability as a fundamental necessity and not just a tool that would be ‘nice to have.’ In fact, responders to Gartner’s latest SCM Technology User Wants and Needs Study named end-to-end visibility as their top funded initiative.

So, what’s suddenly motivating companies to prioritize this capability?

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3 Key Lessons on Creating Lasting Supply Chain Success We Learned This Year

Posted by Sophia Shats     Dec 16, 2019 5:30:41 PM

We spent the year breaking down how today’s supply chain practitioners are under the gun, feeling pressured to run smoother and leaner operations under thinning margins and during the most disruptive time that has ever existed. We’ve noticed that these conditions have spawned a sense of urgency for quick and easy fixes.

However, we also discussed how, much like lasting happiness, fulfillment, and self-actualization, there are no quick fixes in the journey toward industry leadership. Rather, it requires a thoughtful digital transformation to establish a firm foundation on which new processes and innovations can effectively flourish.

As we close out this year, here are three key takeaways for cultivating a lasting transformation and supply chain success.

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The Strongest Predictor of TMS Strength Isn’t What You Think

Posted by Sophia Shats     Nov 11, 2019 4:27:17 PM

It’s no surprise that there’s a growing interest in transportation management solutions. Transportation is at the heart of supply chain operations, and as more companies expand their products and services to conquer new markets, the more they run up against the limitations of their legacy systems.

While there’s a broad array of Transportation Management Systems (TMS) options on the market, according to Gartner’s Model for Holistic Multimodal Transportation Management Systems: Core Capabilities, few vendors “have solutions that can successfully and cost-effectively support all levels of transportation complexity.”

At its core, today’s transportation management solution must at least be holistic and multi-modal. But what does that really mean, and how can you better assess your level of transportation complexity and whether a given solution will adequately support it?

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May the Fourth be With You: How to Become a Jedi Knight in the Supply Chain Universe

Posted by Sophia Shats     May 4, 2019 7:24:46 AM

Fans of Star Wars are familiar with the concept of the Force: an energy field that can be tapped into, that gives a Jedi their power. In the supply chain universe, the Force is like the inevitable progress of technology. A seemingly limitless pool of potential we tap into and are empowered by to not only better handle the pressures and challenges of the ever-evolving industry, but to pioneer that very change and transform the world as we know it.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Supply Chain Needs: How to Become an Industry Leader

Posted by Sophia Shats     Apr 24, 2019 10:08:55 AM

Chances are you’re familiar with the renown Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The psychological theory attempts to map out the stages of human growth, starting with physiological needs, like food, shelter, and safety, and moving onward and upward to love, belonging, esteem, until culminating in self-actualization.

The hierarchy is conceived as a pyramid with the basic needs at the bottom; to advance, you must first meet the requirements of the previous level. In other words, starvation takes precedence over safety. Most won’t have the bandwidth to sustain meaningful relationships if they feel unsafe, and they probably won’t reach their full potential if they lack self-esteem.

The same can be said about a business’s growth and development.

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Know What You Want & How to Ask for It (III)

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Apr 2, 2019 8:52:53 AM

Approaching a digital transformation can seem daunting. There are many considerations and software providers, so how do you determine which solutions are best? After assembling a small, cross-functional team, outline a strategic approach for summarizing your intentions and highlighting priorities for the initiative.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss how to effectively approach the task and apply your decisions to the vendor selection process.

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Why Static Modeling Doesn’t Cut It in the Modern Supply Chain

Posted by Paul van Dongen     Mar 14, 2019 10:12:29 AM

When you think of the supply chain, it’s easy to recall the antiquated notion of a literal chain of command and linear process. The chain begins at Point A, the order, and ends at Point B, the delivery of the product; what happens in between is as predictable and routine as goods flowing down an assembly track. When consumers were generally local and products typically unchanging, it was practical to invest in the same team of partners, routes, and practices.

The breakneck growth of the Internet has radically disrupted that paradigm. The continuous demand for newer, better offerings has shortened product lifecycles and upended the practice of stable partnerships. As dynamic networks are the new normal, technology has emerged to better form and manage these vital relationships.

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How to Kick Off Your Digital Transformation by Building the Right Team (II)

Posted by Bryce Boothby     Mar 6, 2019 4:45:22 PM

We opened this series by discussing why digital transformation and continuous improvements are critical to long-term success. But once you’ve made this realization, how do you actually make it happen in an effective and streamlined way? Just because you’ve discovered the key to your company’s inefficiencies and the importance of aiming higher doesn’t mean everyone else does. Besides, small to mid-size businesses don’t typically have a dedicated professional or department to oversee the endeavor, so you need to champion internal support.

Here, we’ll take a quick look at how to craft a value proposition for executive sponsorship, then focus on who you should enlist to ensure the endeavor is handled intelligently and without delay.

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